Next Gen 2011: Hollywood's Fastest-Rising Stars
With New Girl re-upped for a second season, Meriwether's TV outing is one of the fall's few slam dunks. But the Michigan native admits she jumped into the comedy-series pool with lead feet. "I got here from New York with two bags and no driver's license," says Meriwether, 30. "People were asking me which production designer I wanted to hire. And I was like, 'I don't even know what that means." Meriwether didn't arrive at her passion for writing until college. "I wanted to be an actress, but I like to eat -- and I hate face-to-face rejection," she says. After she graduated from Yale in 2004, she moved to New York and tried to parlay a knack for storytelling into a livelihood. A "last minute" gig as producer and screenwriter on last spring's No Strings Attached led to her crafting a pilot for Fox. Today, she's riding a diverse wave of fandom -- "My mom likes the show, and I got an e-mail saying Jennifer Grey likes it, too!" -- while maintaining a little skepticism about Hollywood. "I've been really lucky, but I'm always a negative Nelly, waiting-for-the-next-shoe-to-drop kind of person," Meriwether says. "It's weird because I'm not Jewish, but I should be."